Internet radio site Pandora was one of the first companies to embrace Facebook’s instant personalization push, a controversial feature that outraged privacy advocates and allowed websites to tap into personal information users had shared with Facebook.
But Pandora now seems to have had a change of heart when it comes to Facebook’s approach to sharing.
The social networking site recently unveiled a “new class of social apps” that, once approved by a user, will automatically publish all of his or her activity on the app to Facebook — every article read, every song listened to, every television show watched. While other music streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio and Slacker have launched apps that take advantage of these capabilities, Pandora has so far steered clear of Facebook’s latest move to increase the information its users post on the site.
Pandora founder and chief strategy officer Tim Westergren told The Huffington Post that he thinks there is a limit to the type of information individuals are comfortable sharing on Facebook, and that Facebook’s new apps risk alienating the company’s users.
“Music, on the one hand, is a very social thing. We listen to music together, we go to shows. But I think there’s also a very private dimension to it. Many people are self-conscious about what they listen to,” Westergren said. “We’ve surveyed our listeners and a small percentage of them want people to know what they’re listening to all the time. And we start with a fundamental respect for what our listener wants and what’s in their comfort zone, not how we can grow or how we can increase referrals.”
Westergren acknowledged that Pandora’s earlier partnership with Facebook had caused headaches for the company, which was criticized by users and privacy advocates alike for tapping into personal data.
“We got some blowback. When that [instant personalization] came out, there were some upset people and that was a lesson learned for us,” Westergren said. “Some said that it was great, but there were some listeners who said, ‘Wait a minute, maybe Faceook says that’s okay, but what are you doing?'”